Report: Global PV market to grow 21 percent by end of 2016

According to a new report from GTM Research and SoliChamba Consulting, 58 gigawatts of monitored PV will be added to the world’s total in 2016, bringing the cumulative PV monitoring market to 242 gigawatts. In addition to a growing installation base, the PV monitoring landscape is undergoing tremendous change as it integrates into the broader PV software ecosystem, deals with additional regulatory and cybersecurity requirements, and faces challengers from the energy management market.

Now in its fourth edition, the report, Global PV Monitoring 2016-2020: Markets, Trends, and Leading Players, is the industry’s most comprehensive analysis of the global PV monitoring market.

Led by China’s massive utility-scale segment and Japan’s feed-in tariff backed market, the Asia-Pacific region will account for 56 percent of the global total. North America will be the second largest region with 27 percent, followed by Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, and Latin America.

Global PV Monitoring Market, 2015-2020E

Source: Global PV Monitoring 2016-2020

Monitoring vendors are diverse in terms of both geography and business model. The report categorizes vendors in three segments: independent software vendors (ISVs), power electronics vendors, and downstream solar firms. Globally, of the top 10 firms, six are ISVs, two are power electronics vendors, and two are downstream solar companies.

Global PV Monitoring Vendor Landscape

Source: Global PV Monitoring 2016-2020

In 2015, the market experienced significant merger and acquisition activity including BKW’s acquisition of Solar-Log, meteocontrol’s acquisition of iTerra, and Genscape’s acquisition of U.S. residential PV monitoring market leader Locus Energy. The report notes that the PV monitoring market is likely to see similar activity in 2016. In fact, Solarrus Corporation just announced the acquisition of Power Factors this month.

“Monitoring is business-critical for the technical, commercial, and financial operation of PV assets, and investors are now considering bankability as an important factor when selecting a provider, especially after seeing large players in all vendor categories go through financial turmoil, including bankruptcies,” according to the report.

GTM Research and SoliChamba Consulting forecast the global monitoring market to surpass 524 gigawatts by 2020.

For more information, download the executive summary here.

After a record-breaking 2015, GTM Research expects the global solar PV market to grow 21 percent and add 66 gigawatts of capacity by the end of the 2016. Tempered by policy pullbacks across major markets China, Japan and the U.K., PV growth will slow in 2017, but the market will reach 95 annual gigawatts by 2020.

Below are some of the key trends GTM Research identified across the global solar landscape.

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Multi-gigawatt markets

To date, 13 countries have installed at least 2 gigawatts of PV capacity. According to the report, that number will grow to more than 20 by 2020.

Europe’s rebound and India’s surge

Europe, once the stronghold of the global market, will see its top markets continue to fall down the rankings in the short term. However, GTM Research expects a turnaround for the region. Its share of installations will grow from 10 percent this year to 13 percent by 2020.

GTM Research expects India to solidify as a major market, growing from 4 percent of the global market in 2020 to 13 percent by 2020. That means India will install just as much solar in 2020 as all of Europe.

Latin America heats up

While it has a small base, Latin America will impressively double in size this year. Mexico’s recent auction results have positioned the nation on-par with Brazil as the two most promising regions in Latin America.

Evolving mechanisms for growth

As the price of solar continues to fall, the report notes that the number of countries using auctions as a mechanism to drive solar installations has significantly increased. GTM Research identified 14 countries using auctions in 2014, and today that number has grown to 2016. Feed-in tariffs, however, look to be going out of fashion as the number of countries using the mechanism dropped 14 percent in the same time period.

Utility-scale leads, but DG will grow

Utility-scale installations will account for 61 percent of all PV installed in 2016.

“The gap between utility-scale solar and distributed generation (DG) has shrunk in the past two years as residential growth in the U.S., Germany, the U.K., and Japan has picked up,” says the report. “DG growth will continue to be driven by greater end-customer familiarity with solar, higher cost-competitiveness, and country-tailored business models that build on leasing’s success in the U.S. but are adapted to the specific needs of emerging markets.

— Solar Builder magazine

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